Well done BCCI. Yes, I have gone ahead and praised the BCCI. Feels weird, but this time they have undoubtedly made the right decision.
Despite the Delhi High Court dropping the spot-fixing charges against S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, the BCCI had decided that it will not revoke its ban on the three players. The board says it has enough evidence that the players violated the anti-corruption code. The debate should end there and it did. If you violated that code it must be curtains for you.
However, just a ban feels incomplete doesn't it? Is it enough? It hasn't been in the past. Watching Ajay Jadeja, for example, comment on the IPL still creates an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. Seeing Azharuddin get elected to Parliament in 2009 left me embarrassed that I lived in this country. So what should we do? Prison time is not an option due to the lack of laws. So what then?
Here is a thought.
We've taken away their ability to play cricket, but let's go all the way and erase them altogether from our memory.
"You see one of them at the airport feel free to shout out 'cheater'. But if you really want to hurt them, just ignore them."
Take a man like Sreesanth. Here is a fellow who has craved the limelight ever since he made his debut. Obsessed with getting attention he loves the media -- he's virtually a Kardashian. Let's cut the cheater and his two teammates off. Let this be the final day where the press and media write about the three tainted men (I will not call them sportsmen). The BCCI has ruled on the matter and that is that. What else is left for the media to say?
Why stop there?
No more press conferences, no more videos of Sreesanth bowling or working out, no more quotes about their dreams to play again and no more articles about their emotional struggles. No Bigg Boss, no Comedy Nights and no Nach Baliye. No book deals and signings, no movie contracts and roles. No more autographs, no more selfies with them and no more appearance fees. No corporate event invitations, no party tickets in an election, no free clothes, meals and hotels. Delete their records from the game. Their names should no longer appear in databases of cricketers. You see one of them at the airport feel free to shout out "cheater". But if you really want to hurt them, just ignore them.
The ban from the sport and the taint of a cheater label will hurt. But forgetting them altogether will bury them. Another player will think twice before making the same mistake.
I wish this would be done, but it will not. The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has already written to the BCCI asking that the ban on Sreesanth should be lifted. There have also been articles by journalists saying that Sreesanth is now as clean as Tendulkar and Gavaskar. If that statement doesn't make you nauseous I don't know what will.
The truth is we live in a celebrity-mad society. There will still be corporates that will love to have Sreesanth come and bowl in the nets to their clients or cut a ribbon at an event. There will still be die-hard cricket fans that will take a picture with these players and put it on Facebook. So despite any hopes yours truly might have, these players are not going anywhere from the limelight.
The only hope we have is that we pass a law that makes fixing a criminal offense. Maybe someday.
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